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Aparigraha (non-greed, non-attachment)

Aparigraha (non-greed, non-attachment)

This piece was originally published in the OWY newsletter in November of 2013.

In the previous newsletter I touched on the fourth yama, brahmacharya (moderation).  As a quick review the 8 limbs of yoga are:

  1. Yamas (external restraints)
  2. Niyamas (internal observances)
  3. Asana (postures)
  4. Pranayama (breath control)
  5. Pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses)
  6. Dharana (concentration)
  7. Dhyana (meditation)
  8. Samadhi (absorption)

The first limb, Yamas, include:

  1. Ahimsa (non-violence)
  2. Satya (truthfulness)
  3. Asteya (non-stealing)
  4. Brahmacharya (moderation or abstinence)
  5. Aparigraha (non-greed, non-attachment)

A lack of greed is something I’ve always thought was one of my better qualities.  Non-attachment on the other hand not so much.  But as I looked at myself more I began to see how greedy I am for the attention and approval of others.  Not only that but I saw how much I talked at people and not with them.  So aparigraha is, as all the limbs seem to be, a little more tricky than meets the eye.

Attachment is a big one for me.  I regularly plan plans with an eye towards the results.  Not bad in and of itself, but I have no control over outcomes.  I can only do my best in any situation.  Attachment to other people and material things I would say I’m about average.  Not too bad with those, but results or the future, that’s something I need to continue to work on.  I guess that’s greed as well as my desire for specific outcomes is pretty intense.

So what in your life are you attached to or feel you need intensely?  Are there things you desire so much they cause you troubles or keep you from seeing what’s in front of you?  Maybe there is something you still do or take part in that no longer benefits you, that you are still attached to.  Maybe there is something you think you need but haven’t gotten that’s causing you pain.  In my experience finding these things and releasing them is usually more pleasant than if I got what I thought I wanted.

Continue with the first niyama, Saucha.

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